Finally finally after a loong vacation break time has come to try out something new and special to me. While doing some research where I could spend some relaxing days with great activities I spotted an interesting offer: KARMA Holidays, a week full of Yoga and SUP (StandUpPaddle). It got immediately my attention and after some emails with the owners I confirmed the booking. My mum liked the idea of that type of vacation too and so I asked her if she would like to join and the mum-daughter vacation have been fixed for September.
We had an enjoyable flight and arrived safely in Lisbon. After waiting ages fort he luggage we waited even more ages for getting our rental car, but hey, we’re not in a rush, holidays just started! Sitting in the car, first surprise: My imported GPS doesn’t have any map for Portugal which I obviously didn’t checked out before. Offline Maps were not possible as I don’t have any usage volume left on my mobile (yes I need urgentlly a new one! Update October 2016 - yay I got a new one!) Thanks to Roaming package, I could still use Google Maps in any emergencies I thought. We also got a description on the way to our Karma Villa. However, it didn’t take long until emergency happened. We got completely lost and after 2 hours of driving around (the way was supposed to not take longer than 30 minutes) I called the host and it turned out that we were pretty close and finally made it to our accommodation for the week.
We got and enjoyed an amazing, brazilian Welcome – BBQ with delicious meat (check out Picanha, it was sooo yumm! )in the Villa Guincho in Marveira de Serra and got to know the other girls staying the week there. It turned out that we will do Yoga Classes together, but the activities during the day were different. We had sufers, bikers, walkers, climbers and SUP’ers in the group (all women, in total 12) and all from German speaking countries or at least living in it. After some drinks we said good night as we had big plans for the first day with some Yoga and Mum and I decided to take a cruise to the town Sintra.
After some almost-heart-attack on the way to Sintra (there was a motorbike race taking place on the
street we had to drive) we had a stroll around the town and were already wondering where the magic castle could be seen. By coinsidence we saw a TukTuk (for 5 EUR per person) and asked to join the way up. I can really recommend this way to the Castelo dos Mouros especially if you don’t have much time as the way up takes some time. Arrived there, we still had 30 minutes to walk to a forest like you know it from the fairytales – really stunning. Arrived at the castle, we quickly had a tour inside it where we didn’t spend too much time but if you’re into castle and history – the rooms are worth to see. If you have time I recommend a visit to Sintra. It is touristy yes, but the variety of different trees in the forest and the magical castles are fulfilling the dreams of every princess out there :)
Returning from Sintra we got a great dinner in the Villa. In general the food we got was simlpy amazing. Fresh, healthy, delicious – for what else could we ask for?
The following days had pretty much the same structure: Getting up around 7:30 am to be ready fort he first yoga lession at 8. After yoga weh ad delicious and healty breakfest before we got ourselves ready for our activities. The SUP’pers got picked up by taxi and wem ade our way to Cascais where we enjoyed great SUP lessions with the people of Surf’n’Paddle Cascais. If you ever make it there, I can highly recommend to book a SUP trip with the guys - you can check them out here: http://www.surfnpaddle.com All of them were super nice and I enjoyed every trip. Sometimes it was hard because of the wind and the water with 18 C was hmm let’s say refreshing :) But we never gave up and got rewarded at the end of the session with relaxing meditation on the boards.
On the last day we even had to ride a wave on our SUP’s unexpectedly - we ended up wet but was fun tough too.
Some words about the YOGA we did. As I would consider myself as a pretty beginner in Yoga and don’t have much experience and would neither call me the most flexible person, I was curious how it would be. In total we had 3 different Yoga teachers and all had their own styles, one was rather sporty the other one rather traditional. All oft hem had elements I like and which I could bring home to practise more Yoga self-independently back at home. Personally, I got the best inspiration from Filipa who is a truly a Yogi and a wonderful person: http://filipaveiga.blogspot.ch
On Thursday we skipped the entire program totally. Parked our Car in Cascais and took the train (for EUR 2.- EUR per person one way which took 40 minutes – SBB maybe you check their concept to lower the pricing here in Switzerland for public transport!) along the wonderful coast to Lisbon. Arrived there, we did what girls sometimes just have to do. Obviously shopping and sightseeing. We enjoyed a great day going all the different streets up and down in the beautiful capital of Portugal. Porto is still my charming town nr. 1 in Portugal, but Lisbon is not bad either.
FOOD & Drinks
I have to say, food was just amazing. No matter i fit was breakfast, lunch or dinner from the cook of the KARMA villa or if we ate outside. Some tips to remember:
I think I found my Karma during these days and they were perfect for relaxation.
I have never done vacation like this before and I have been asked if I would do it again. My answer: Yes, but....
...rather in a place where you are close and independent to other locations like shop, bars etc and you don’t necessarily need a car. I can’t think about a time where I went to bed this early as here. Although I was driving like a local at the end, I still feel more comfortable with the driving style oft he Swiss and was happy to return the car without any damage.